WHO keeps swine flu pandemic alert

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World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan on Thursday decided to maintain a pandemic flu alert nearly a year after she placed the world on maximum alert for the new swine flu virus.

The WHO said following advice from a panel of scientists that although the pandemic had declined, cases of A(H1N1) influenza expected to continue in the coming weeks mainly during the southern hemisphere's flu season .

The announcement followed a teleconference on Tuesday of the emergency committee of 15 scientists headed by Australian infectious diseases expert John Mackenzie, which advises the director general of the UN health agency.

"Following the advice of the Emergency Committee, the Director-General determined that while the period of most intense pandemic activity has passed, pandemic disease is expected to continue to occur," the agency said in a statement.

It added that the situation would be reassessed by mid July 2010, when full information on the winter influenza season in the south was available.

© 2010 AFP

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